Dick Durbin apologized for comparing Gitmo to the horrors of concentration camps run by Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot. But that crazy GOP just won’t accept it.
That is the theme of today’s L.A. Times article on Dick Durbin’s so-called apology. The article is titled Sen. Durbin’s Regret for Remarks Not Enough for GOP.
“Sen. Durbin’s Regret.” That’s a hell of an interesting headline for a guy who had this to say in a radio interview conducted on Friday morning:
Q: No regrets on the statements you made?
Durbin: No, I don’t, and I’ll tell you why. I went to the floor and read a memo from the FBI. This isn’t something I made up.
Durbin was offered many chances in the interview to retract his ridiculous comparison. He declined. He was asked if he was surprised at the backlash, and guess who he blamed it on? You got it — that vast right-wing conspiracy:
Q: Are you surprised at all this backlash?
Durbin: Yes, I am. Well, I shouldn’t be. I have seen it happen before. What happens is this, for your listeners, so they understand now. The people on the other side, the president’s supporters, have a pretty substantial network behind them. The first thing they do when they get angry and decide to focus on something, my statement obviously was their focus, they start their blogs, which I don’t pay a lot of attention to but some people do. The next thing you know is it moves into this talk radio. I became a poster child for Rush Limbaugh. He put my number on his radio show. People called from all around the country. The Washington Times, a very conservative, Republican newspaper, puts a front page story about me on there. The White House lashes out at me, and pretty soon the mainstream media, it just follows. It has happened time and time again.
That was Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, Durbin’s only regret appeared to be that others had misunderstood him: “I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings: Our soldiers around the world and their families at home deserve our respect, admiration and total support.”
Do you think that it would have helped L.A. Times readers to understand GOP outrage if they had been told that, earlier that same morning, Durbin had maintained that he had no regrets for the statements? I do. But that is nowhere mentioned in the article. Instead, we hear that the guy has apologized, but that the rotten stinkin’ GOP won’t accept the heartfelt apology:
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), the assistant minority leader, subsequently said he regretted that his comments were misunderstood as criticism of U.S. troops. But Republicans have continued to call for a more forthright apology.
. . . .
“I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood,” he said in a written statement. “I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings: Our soldiers around the world and their families at home deserve our respect, admiration and total support.”
But that language, Republicans said, was not enough. On Saturday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called on the Senate to censure Durbin because his statement of regret did not retract the comparison.
The closest the article comes to alerting readers to Durbin’s hypocrisy is to say that he “initially seemed unrepentant.” Initially? What about on Friday morning, when he said he had no regrets? The paper skips over that and says: “By Friday, however, he relented.”
No. On Friday morning, he seemed unrepentant. On Friday afternoon, he “relented” to the extent of being sorry that others were too thick to understand what he was really saying.
If Durbin were a Republican making a ridiculous statement about policies of a Democratic administration, his Friday morning remarks would have been the focus of the story.
Instead we get a headline talking about “Sen. Durbin’s Regret.” Nice.